Review: Wintersteel (Cradle #8) by Will Wight


Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

As the Uncrowned King tournament reaches its final rounds, tensions between the competing factions are higher than ever. The outcome may determine the power balance throughout the rest of the world.

Each Monarch schemes to seize any advantage they can…while far away, a Dreadgod stirs.

When the tournament ends, the Dreadgod will rise. Whether it will be driven back into the sea or allowed to rampage depends on the Monarchs.

And on which of them is left standing.

Review

“But danger, properly harnessed, is opportunity.”

Most people who follow my Twitter and reviews probably know by now that I love this series…..like a lot. The combination of intense, fast paced action, characters that you grow to love, and a plot/world that get more interesting and engaging with every book has gotten me to the point where every new book that comes out in this series is started the day of publication. Wintersteel was no exception to that rule.

It would be a crime to not give a shout out to Travis Baldree, the narrator of this series. I have listened to each of these books on audiobook and Travis always knocks it out of the park. His wholly unique voices for each character makes this world come alive and adds so much to the story.

I have just finished my reread of this 8th book in the Cradle series and I can say that I actually enjoyed myself even more on this reread than I did the first time. The first time I read it I think I had certain expectations of where the story would go and they were not all met. In retrospect, these expectations hurt my enjoyment of this utterly brilliant thrill ride of a story.

From page one you get the sense that something big is coming. The tension slowly builds as we switch from Lindon’s to Yerin’s to Eithan’s POV and get to see every angle of the conflict that is brewing both in plain view and behind the scenes. Even when there weren’t actual fights the plot always felt fast because there was always something happening that moved the plot right along and continued to build that tension all the way up to an incredible climax that left me breathless and joining the rest of the Cradle community in clamoring for the next book.

“The only true defeat is death.”

I would go so far as to say that this is Wight’s most complete, maybe even best book in the Cradle series. He did a great job of balancing tension, plot progression, worldbuilding, and fun. Oh, was this book fun! I honestly think that that is the single best way to describe this book and series; pure, unadulterated fun. I just have a blast every time I read this series. Whether it was Eithan’s ridiculous hijinks, Dross and Yerin’s dry humor, Lindon’s overwhelming will to better himself, or just any number of absolutely epic moments of combat, Wintersteel was no exception to this rule.

The one thing that I think could be improved upon from Wintersteel is to slow down just a bit for the big moments. There were some very emotional, powerful, epic moments in Wintersteel, but there was so many things going on at the same time and the plot was progressing so fast that those moments sometimes felt fleeting, not getting the attention that they truly deserve. Honestly, that was the one thing that kept me from giving Wintersteel a perfect score because I loved this book.

I don’t know what else I can say. Will Wight is a master at what he does. As I continue in this series, he continues to surprise me time and again. Throughout Wintersteel, I often found myself laughing out loud, tearing up, and even pumping my fist in the air, sometimes all within the same chapter. In my opinion, a big part of what makes an author great is the ability to elicit those emotional responses from their readers. Will Wight continues to improve and has solidified himself as one of my favorite authors and his Cradle series as one of my top 10 series of all time. I implore you, if any of this sounds remotely interesting to you at all, read these books!

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